Architecture and word: a new method

Aug 29 '10 85 Last Comment
daniele scarpa kosdaniele scarpa kos
Aug 29, 10 7:52 am

FABULA architecture wishes to reintroduce words and story as a guide to the design and to the thought of form.

FABULA architecture is a method that all architects can apply, as a basic theoretical formula, to their projects, to their style. (*)

FABULA architecture provides, as the first phase of the project, for the selection of a story: novel, comic strip, essay, poem, biography.
On this pathway, the text and the story become part of the design of the architectural structure, are contained in it. "Contained in it" means that they remain subsets fit into a broader set. This passage is fundamental to keep - as is often the case - words and story from conditioning the project in an absolute way, either by absence or by presence. In the architecture of the "less is more" and of "ornament and crime" they are external - by absence - residing in the theoretical texts, and constituting the premise that constrains the design in a subtraction of narration that is concretized in the extreme simplification of forms. On the contrary, in the architecture of themeamusement parks, of a certain Postmodern, of Revival and Neo Renaissance, it is the story, its illustration, that comes out from a subset determining - by presence - the design of the entire building. In FABULA architecture the subset function is thus fundamental.

How can a novel, an essay, a comic strip etc... become a subset? In various possible ways:

- Reduction, as in stencil-graffiti art, of part of the text to a synthetic image modularly repeated in subsets within the project (to underline architectural details), a sort of logo of the building.

- Summary of the novel into various passages of images to be fitted as formal elements into subsets that dialogue with the project design.

- Fitting of parts of text into the external and internal structure.

- Elements drawn from writing (letters etc...) and their location in the "layout" of the architectural forms.

- Writings-images-brands that refer back to the text.

- Descriptive images of the history fitted into subsets utilized as design motifs inscribed in the architectural form: junctions on the external and internal surfaces. The logical succession of spaces becomes temporal succession, film.

- Images of the story placed according to the logical order of the rhetorical figures.

- Make function and voice into a binary system continually in relation in the set/subset dialectic.

- Storyboard and structure proceed in a single sequence.

FABULA architecture must not be confused with decoration and ornament.
FABULA architecture is/is-not words.
FABULA architecture broaches a dialectical thought between set and subsets, function and words.

For FABULA architecture a building represents an anthropological machine the provide - as in a novel - for all the actions it encloses: entering, leaving, appearing, walking etc.... The surfaces of a construction are brackets (round, square) that delimit events, histories, actions: a matryoshka. The architecture produces narration, contains words. This is the starting point, the base on which FABULa_architecture articulates a structure.

(*) FABULA architecture is/is-not an architectural style.


Aug 30, 10 10:40 am

yeah... go right ahead with that one.

Aug 30, 10 6:09 pm

Why don't you show us some examples/designs of your "new method/design style" to sell us and then we can comment...

Aug 30, 10 6:28 pm

I used google translator to translate the original post into Japanese, then into Finnish, then Bulgarian, back into English, then to Russian, over to Mandarin and then to Elmer Fudd English. The result made as much sense as the original.

Dazed and Confused
Aug 31, 10 12:23 am

Ha Ha Ha - that's awesome! This crappy economy won't get to FABULA architecture - that's for certain and to be surely truly sure

Sep 1, 10 11:53 pm

Clarity is never a bad thing in any form of writing. I feel like architects get too far with poorly worded explanations because they are backed up by powerful images and models.

With drawings and models, you can use their inherent ambiguity to drive new possibilities. Language doesn't work that way. You have to pick a direction and stick with it. Please seriously revise your post because it makes no sense.

I also like to read what I write out loud. It tends to make all my mistakes and weak spots glaringly obvious.

Sep 2, 10 12:22 am

don't be too hard on him, gondol3 is trying something out

keep going, don't be afraid to be messy, but if you are and you share it, expect no one to understand until you clarify your own concept

also, look at the "literary fallacy" in architecture according to geofrey scott in the architecture of humanism

creativity expert
Sep 2, 10 1:08 pm

I really don't know why the poster, thinks this he is the first person to think of doing this.

Kos Scarpa Kos
Sep 4, 10 8:14 am

There are forms of visual art (graffiti-stencil art etc...) that express themselves in the urban landscape, on architecture and in architecture.

Why can't contemporary architects try to integrate these artistic forms into their language? But to do so, it is necessary to apply a new theoretical model, useful in not reproposing the compositional schemes of decoration and of ornament. This is the one of the aims of the Fabula Architecture method

Sep 4, 10 12:48 pm

Go for it... But you need to execute it successfully and point at it and understand how great it is... Not just talk about what you did... End result matters... Proof is in the pudding.

Kos Scarpa Kos
Sep 22, 10 6:51 am

dcblock, the point remains that of the difference between method and style.
If you want I can produce drawings that are valid as absolutely generic examples and not connected with my style, but nevertheless—I repeat—F.A. is not MY style, but is a method that can be useful for whoever wishes to utilize it, applying it to his or her OWN personal style.
Let me propose a provocation, which is useful for tackling the question from another point of view. Imagine that one morning you find in one of your architectural drawings a work of stencil-graffiti art printed there during the night by an artist (just as it happens on the walls of our cities). Try to think of having to incorporate, to include this artistic form in the design of your building, either by transforming it into a logo of the building, or by utilizing it to emphasize certain crucial structural points, or as a subset that enters into a relation of double-syntax with the rest of the forms you have designed, or by contaminating your very design of the project with echoes of formal solutions drawn from that work of stencil-graffiti art, or simply by emphasizing the stencil-graffiti work within the project a number of times. A contamination. A mutation. A stimulus of formal solutions.... What is important is that the work of stencil-art, even though amplified and valorized, remain a subset with respect to the wholeness of the project....

olaf design ninja
Sep 22, 10 10:47 pm

you serious? hejduk meets eisenman?
i'm a figment of some guys imagination, this sounds like something i'd make up to make fun of people who try too hard.

try FABULA or try beer.

vuuve is good beer

olaf design ninja
Sep 22, 10 10:48 pm
Sep 22, 10 11:25 pm

or just learn to design

prairie school drop out
Sep 22, 10 11:54 pm

i thought this thread was going to be a proposal for ditching autodesk and using microsoft word for drawings. then i was going to tell a story about someone who i have heard does all his drawing in power point.

Sep 23, 10 1:24 am

lol... I once met an Architect who did his drawings/plans using Excel boxes since he didn't know CAD... true story...

gondol- If I woke up one morning to find an artist had graffiti-ed my drawings I would first punch them in the face and then erase their graphics... lol seriously though I don't thik that we should be proposing a supergraphics style that bends the bldg design to the words... I imagine a world of billboards and consumerist supergraphics and I get scared...A constant landscape filled with NYC times squares/hollywood signs?... I'm all for branding but the instant that the graphic designer gets to dictate the building design, our job gets much less relevant... It seems like an interesting school project though...

Sep 23, 10 1:53 am


olaf design ninja
Sep 23, 10 7:29 am

Maybe FABULA is a get rich quick scheme...

Sep 23, 10 5:20 pm

“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.” -LeCorbusier


Sep 24, 10 6:14 pm

full re-tod

Kos Scarpa Kos
Nov 3, 10 6:06 am

Tks dblock...I continue to take my cue from your remarks to underline some passages that for me are important.
Stencil Art and Sticker Art are art forms "on a hand scale": the scale they imply does not comprise, initially, that of large surfaces.
The architecture associated with the "hand" scale recalls (by analogy) a series of interactions between humans and architecture: opening doors, closing windows, leaning on a handrail, ringing a door bell, touching.
A Fabula Architecture exclusively of large surfaces would, probably, be nothing more than an up-dated version of Muralism, when in fact it is a method based on the set–subset dialectic.
If Stencil Art and Sticker Art can certainly be utilized to stimulate formal solutions on large surfaces (but always in the perspective of the subset), we can also think of an F.A. in which the "hand" scale of Stencil art remains unchanged: in this case I spoke of the "logo" of the building etc...

Nov 3, 10 6:27 am

gomgol. Please quit with this nonsense already. Noone gives a fuck.

Nov 3, 10 12:43 pm

this is not new

Nov 3, 10 1:37 pm

lol... I care, I want to know what he's smoking... and where to get it...

Distant Unicorn
Nov 3, 10 1:44 pm

Not in only-12%-of-the-most-miserable-people-showed-up-to-vote-"No"-on-Prop-19 California.

a mouse
Nov 3, 10 9:05 pm

Fabula, meet 3dh.
3dh, meet Fabula.

i'm just going to grab a drink, but i'm sure you two have alot to talk about

Nov 3, 10 9:09 pm

hopefully it wont have stupid auto-format...I hate that shit

Nov 4, 10 7:22 am

speak to the "hand"scale...

Nov 4, 10 8:51 am

the architectual experience is sequential in nature and many theorists have compared it to film, literature, etc...


Stencil Art and Sticker Art is not is obvious that you have some interest in this area personally and you are trying to promote it as something valid in the world of architecture--


all things are valid in the world of are just using what you like...why not be about food, or sex, or sports?

how would you incorporate ejaculate on your plans?? or a coffee stain or the QB plays?


surface design in only a part of architecture...
you can sand off the hieroglyphics but the massing is still there--


the interior space is already sequential in nature and many theorists have compared it to film, literature, etc...


nothing wrong with a manifesto, but you gotta back it up...


instead of replying, turn the manifesto into a building...
i know, it's hard to design, without a site, but imagine it is a pavilion of ideas....

Kos Scarpa Kos
Dec 2, 10 4:38 am

F.A. basically intends to elaborate a method that is useful for developing a range of possibile interactions between word and project, and to provide a theoretical schema useful for those who intend to integrate into their OWN style forms of visual art that make architecture a privileged support without having recourse to the solutions of "decorativism," of the "more is more," or to a new version of the "muralists".

Keep it in mind that it is, in fact, above all an "other" way of thinking, an "other" possibility: F.A. can also be nothing more than an exercise, a puzzle, an isolated episode in an architect's production.

Let me give an example, shifting the question to a literary sphere.
I do not believe that the author of novels makes an "error" at the moment in which he collaborates with painters to create (even in just one volume) text+drawings stories!
It is simply a question of a different possibility of articulating written language, putting it into relation with language that is visual.

It is true: stencil art is an artisitc form that fits in among the many possible combinatorial forms between art and architecture, a dialogue that, as you certainly know, has been going on for a long time...

I am pleased that you confirm some of my comments on architecture as film, sequence, etc... They are certainly not the aim of F.A., but they do constitute one of its premises.

The F.A formula opens a range of possible developments, whose final result is, nonetheless, not the "F.A architectural style." It is clear that among the basic questions we find the theme of the "double": if, in fact, I were to cite another theoretical premise of reference for F.A, I would find it in the formulations of the "double-syntax" elaborated by the feminist thought of the past few decades.
Once the method has been made clear, new spaces of collaboration open up between:
Architects and poets
Architects and stencil-graffiti-artists
Architects and graphic design artists
Architects and toy-design artists
Architects and cartoonists

Voilà my interests as p-painter


Kos Scarpa Kos
Dec 8, 10 4:58 pm

Repeating a formula I have already used, I would have to say that F.A. is/isn't a manifesto or perhaps, more properly, I ought to call it an anti-manifesto?

Dec 8, 10 5:10 pm

gondol3 = Per Corell?????

Kos Scarpa Kos
Feb 13, 11 5:41 am

ARCHIRELLA - the game of architecture. GAME #1

A graffitist, during the night, applies one of his works of sticker art to a building by Le Corbusier, or by Palladio, or by Also Rossi (etc...). The work, as if it were a virus, spreads, interacts with the building. The result could be different from the original...but how? What might it be?

Feb 13, 11 5:37 pm

Don't bother calling anything anything.

Show work, that's what counts, not rambled "ideas".

Feb 13, 11 7:15 pm

it might be viral sticky art on a building...or were you trying to con me into some GSD bullshit?

Feb 13, 11 7:32 pm

The result could be different from the original...but how? What might it be?

I'm with trace

Kos Scarpa Kos
Feb 23, 11 10:33 am

Archirella isn't "architecture", it's a game about architecture, plz

Feb 23, 11 11:40 am

Good thread.

Just saw an article about an interview of Rem by a lady journist. He said he was recording the society.


Feb 23, 11 1:22 pm

I like to think of this thread as a random word generator.

cmrhm, your contribution fits right in :)

St. George's Fields
Feb 23, 11 3:39 pm

A game about architecture sounds boring. Really boring.

More boring than my second least favorite game "Affenpinscher or Brussels Griffon?"

olaf design ninja
Feb 23, 11 6:34 pm

I tried my first Fabulatastic plan..its up on me website thingy
Its the drawing with words on it.
Did I get it right?

Feb 23, 11 7:59 pm

the idea of applying the art is interesting. for whatever reason, this sort of discussion tends to make me think more of stuff like:


but there is something about the permanence of actually applying the art, even if sticker art or graffiti, that is more in keeping with architecture's lineage, imo -- it anchors some aspect of reality b/c of its persistence

i suppose that these two modes of expression function on different scales of time and may, as a result, lend themselves to different types of communication

is there a reason you see your project working with more permanent media?

Feb 23, 11 8:03 pm

maybe this one is better b/c less literal link

Feb 24, 11 1:02 am

rusty: I didn't have time to read all the thread. Just thought It is a good idea to use several words to tell the concept. I don't quite understand your comments though.

jmanganelli: cool link.

Kos Scarpa Kos
Mar 16, 11 12:05 pm

olaf design ninja - + stuff u r doing! This is pure archirella! Luv this thang!

olaf design ninja
Mar 16, 11 6:32 pm

Arhirella? Is that something I say when I crush a beer can on my head tomorrow?
Haven't posted on vuuve in a bit...I am really tired today so I will proceed with my attemt at FABULA

Kos Scarpa Kos
Mar 17, 11 7:28 am

:)))) he he

Kos Scarpa Kos
Mar 17, 11 7:32 am

jmanganelli — a useful observation. There is a difference of duration, which provides for a fuller utilization of techniques and tools. Mosaic, marble, new materials, etc... can be used as substitutes for spray and paint; what counts is the integration into the architectural form of some new stylistic elements that—in particular—stencil art has developed over the past few decades: geometricizing and structured graphic qualities that can be usefully integrated into architectural design...

Kos Scarpa Kos
Aug 20, 11 2:15 pm
Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Aug 20, 11 2:23 pm

Somebody needs a job.



Kos Scarpa Kos
Aug 27, 11 7:16 am

M-J, i'm not trolling. Fabula (or Archirella) is a ***** method...

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